Tips on Making the Most of School Tryouts

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Middle school can be a fun and exciting place, and one of the factors that make it so much fun are the extracurricular activities many schools offer. School tryouts give middle schoolers the opportunity to tryout for a play, the chorus, or a school sports team, such as a basketball or field hockey team. Your child's school may even hold tryouts for other teams or positions, such as band leader or even class president.

If your tween wants to participate in school tryouts, whether it's for a team or a part in a play, here's how you can help your child make the most of the experience.

School Tryouts: Tips for Tweens

Be Passionate

It doesn't matter if your tween is trying out for a team, or a part in the school play. If he or she is passionate about the activity, that will go a long way in helping your child make the team or earn the role. Make sure your child is truly interested in the activity, and isn't just trying out because of peer pressure, or because you want him to. Middle school is a chance to try new things, so give your child the wiggle room to discover what he wants to do, and then help him achieve his goals.

Say "No" To Nerves

It can be so scary to tryout for an activity, and many children let their nerves ruin their chances. Be sure you help your child through this process. You can reduce or eliminate nerves by joking around before tryouts, or by helping your child stay focused.

If your child is getting nervous, tell him to think about his last trip to the beach, or ask him to make a mental list of things he wants to do over the weekend, to take his mind off of his nerves. Breathing exercises can also help a child who is stressed out.


The best way to combat nerves and give your child a chance at making the team is to be prepared for the tryouts.

Have your child practice at home, whether it's practicing a pitch, or practicing his lines for the play. Practice with your tween, and be positive. You can offer constructive criticism without being negative. But if your criticism makes your child lose confidence, back off. Sometimes it's better if a sibling or a friend helps your child prepare for school tryouts. Know what works for your tween and make it happen.

Be Prepared

Help your tween by making sure he gets plenty of rest several nights before tryouts, and a nutritious breakfast or lunch that day. A water bottle is always good to have on hand. Also, it helps to have the right equipment on hand, so you might consider making a small investment in cleats, or other items.

Ask for Advice

Your child can help himself make the most of school tryouts by asking questions. If he has friends who have tried out before, encourage him to ask about their experiences, or if they have any advice they can offer. Also, your child might even want to talk to the coach or the faculty adviser about what he can do to increase his chances. Older siblings are also a great resource for children.

Be Responsible

Your child will make a good impression if he or she is responsible and shows up on time for tryouts, and is prepared for the experience.

Make sure he's ready to go when tryouts begin.

Behave Yourself

Your child will put his best foot forward if he behaves during the school tryout process. That means listening carefully to the coach or adviser, and avoiding fighting or drama with other students. In addition, it's important your child know how to react gracefully when tryout results are posted. Whether your child makes the team or not, he or she should know how to react, without being boastful or jealous of other students. Role-play with your child so he knows how to react to a friend who didn't make the team, or how to react if he didn't make the team.

Put it in Perspective

If your child ends up disappointed from school tryouts, be sure you're there to offer positive sympathy. Remind him that he can tryout again next year, or that there are other activities out there that he might be interested in. Be kind and supportive, and remind your child that you're proud because he gave it a shot.

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